Sunday, 10 August 2014

TRAINING UPDATE: Progress, Progress, Progress

If you follow me on Instagram & Twitter, you will see that progress is indeed a relevant headline for this training update.

This past fortnight I feel like I have stepped up the improvement ladder in injury land. Not leaped to the top but definitely on the next rung. It’s been great to see a development in my running, even if it’s slow.

Last week started off nicely with my normal cycle to work followed by a swim at my local pool. I opted to do 600m gently as I was planning to try out running at some point mid week so I wanted to reserve energy and avoid added exhaustion. Tuesday was then spent doing some core and strength work outs at home. Yes – these included squats (see why in my last Training Update) and I am feeling the effect from them every time I do my set of 50.

Wednesday came and it was time to venture out for a run and test the knee again. By this point, my 6th week of injury, I was getting ready for the feeling of disappointment a few minutes into the run and so when I closed that front door, I set off a bit lifeless, almost plodding along without any real interest. I was waiting to get a mile in and feel the dull ache and shooting pains up my right leg.

The first mile I did in 8.40, which was okish. The knee felt a bit creaky but no pain yet. ‘That’s a good sign’, I thought. Hit the second mile in 8.10 – holy hell I have no shooting pains yet. Are you for real!? By this point I can feel my face relax and the corners of my mouth turning up to a smile. My aim at this point was to get to 5K. This would be a milestone for me and one I felt I could reach. I hit three miles with another 8-minute mile and felt so blimmin chuffed to get to 5K in just under 26 minutes. OK – not near my PB but to get to 5K. YAY!
I must admit the knee did get a bit ‘twingey’ in the last mile but by morning I felt ok and my cycle to work carried no pain. I even went swimming on Thursday and completed 750m and still felt fine. Cogs are beginning to work all together again!

Friday I opted to just do my cycle to work and have a restful evening, as I was up early on Saturday to head to the pool with a fellow club runner, who incidentally is also injured.

This particular friend of mine is far FAR fitter than me, far more dedicated to training than me and far more faster at anything than me, so I was a little concerned about my efforts compared to hers. I was right to concern. Arriving at the pool, she had a session all planned out. A session? I never do sessions! I just swim until I’m tired. Lengths hard, lengths easy, lengths with paddles, lengths with floats, lengths, lengths, lengths and more lengths. I think this was the furthest I had ever swam – 1300m in all (even if it was 15 lengths less than her). I was shattered when I got home but actually, I greatly appreciated how beneficial it was to train with someone again. I’ve gone so long now being a lonesome scout for any exercise I do, I had got comfortable at my own pace. This was a huge wake up call and I very much look forward to more swims with her (and runs when we are both fixed).

This past week just gone has been less about exercise and more about socialising. But you have to sometimes right? I however didn’t avoid my weekly test run. After the success of the 5K, I was actually really excited to lace up and try again. This time, I planned to reach four miles. Setting off I found it hard to get a good breathing rhythm and in all honestly, I felt knackered! My first mile was 8.10 again – same as last time and my second broke under the 8-minute mark. I felt good at this point and was stronger and more faithful in my body. My mind felt in tune with what it was doing and I even tackled a couple of small steep hills pain free.

I hit the four-mile mark running steady but hard and was thrilled to see I finished with an average of 8.10 per mile. Quicker than last week! Boy was it hot though – proof of beetroot face below! The knee again felt a bit stiff but with no niggles and I am getting so excited now that I may, MAY be over my ITB woes.
I did think about running again on Friday but after a fab four miles, I didn’t want to jinx it by running again so I decided to wait until next week, where I will attempt to get to five miles. Instead, I decided to test out the Nike Training Club app. Suggested by a friend, I thought there was no harm in downloading it (the app is free). Not one to normally do workouts at home, I was a bit dubious as to whether I’d like it but actually, it’s really good! There are a great variety of workouts to choose from and you can download in video or still image format. In fact, I was so impressed I am lining up a review soon to be able to show in more detail its fabulousness. 
On Saturday I met my friend for swimming again. After last week and knowing the intensity of what we will do, I cycled down mentally prepared and determined to put in maximum effort. I got to the pool early so got stuck in and by the time she arrived I had already done 25 lengths. I regretted this head start - I was already feeling a little tired but as soon as she dived in the pool she got me working on all sorts of sets! The worse is arms outstretched in front of you with a float and all you have is to kick your way through the water. I find this sooo hard and after expressing my hate for it, she made sure I did plenty throughout the session to get used to the pain and burn I felt from it (in a good way of course). I absolutely love her drive and having her there really pushed me and it pushed me far. 2,170m to be exact (70 lengths)! I may not have been able to walk afterwards, but I really felt like I had achieved something.

After this mammoth swim session, I spent the rest of Saturday out with friends, enjoying great food and some well-deserved G&Ts! I had such a lovely time and will all my progress I have been making in all my workouts (run, swim & cycle), I made the most of letting my hair down and rewarding myself. It’s in my rulebook after all.
 (Strawberry Sorbet & Raspberry Ripple Ice Cream (YUM), Gin & Blackberry Cocktail Fizz (double YUM!))

Until next time.

Lipstick Runner.

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